MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Pentagon contract became identity crisis for Google

Posted by M. C. Fox on May 31, 2018

It tells you something when the same Google employees that gleefully work on more and better ways to spy, data mine and sell you to the highest bidder and the government balk at Google’s weaponized AI program.

It tells you something about Dr. Fei-Fei Li and the employees that remain.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/technology/google-project-maven-pentagon.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Ftechnology

By Scott ShaneCade Metz and Daisuke Wakabayashi

…Yet last September, when nervous company officials discussed how to speak publicly about Google’s first major A.I. contract with the Pentagon, Dr. Li strongly advised shunning those two potent letters.

“Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI,” she wrote in an email to colleagues reviewed by The New York Times. “Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI — if not THE most. This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google.”

The company’s relationship with the Defense Department since it won a share of the contract for the Maven program, which uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes, has touched off an existential crisis, according to emails and documents reviewed by The Times as well as interviews with about a dozen current and former Google employees.

It has fractured Google’s work force, fueled heated staff meetings and internal exchanges, and prompted some employees to resign. The dispute has caused grief for some senior Google officials, including Dr. Li, as they try to straddle the gap between scientists with deep moral objections and salespeople salivating over defense contracts…

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